Ericsson beefs up Massive MIMO lineup with smaller radio

Ericsson MIMO
Ericsson unveiled the latest addition to its Massive MIMO portfolio, promising easier 5G mid-band deployments in dense urban and suburban areas. (Ericsson)

Ericsson debuted the AIR 3268, which it bills as the lightest and smallest Massive MIMO radio in the industry, weighing about 26 pounds and packing 200W of output power.

The radio, with 32 transceivers and passive cooling, weighs about 40% less than the earlier generation, making it ideal for installing on poles and walls in addition to towers and rooftops, according to the Swedish vendor.

Ericsson’s latest radio is 10% more energy-efficient than the earlier generation, lowering the total added power consumption when deploying 5G on mid-band. It also supports Ericsson’s Massive MIMO architecture and Uplink Booster capabilities.

RELATED: Ericsson bolsters its 5G Cloud RAN with mid-band, massive MIMO

Interestingly, Ericsson said it developed AIR 3268 in partnership with BT to address 5G challenges.  

“The 3.5 GHz band and Massive MIMO technology are important to our 5G network strategy to deliver the best customer experience in urban areas. We continue to add capacity within our market-leading 5G coverage, but to maximize our ability to deploy this technology, we need to minimize the burden on our site infrastructure,” said Greg McCall, managing director of Service Platforms at BT Group, in a press release.

“BT is pleased to be working with Ericsson on this product, which is less than half the size and weight of our current solution, reducing wind loading on existing sites and providing potential for adding 3.5 GHz Massive MIMO in new locations,” McCall added. “The reduced power consumption will help BT deliver on our sustainability ambition.”

Ericsson’s David Hammarwall, head of Product Line Radio, said they continue to work on designing Massive MIMO with ultra-lightweight radios that allow easier site upgrades and more seamless 5G mid-band deployments. “AIR 3268 widens the options for the radio site, allowing service providers to boost their networks and deliver faster 5G speeds and response times. It is also energy-efficient, which is important to us and our customers,” he stated.

RELATED: Ericsson launches 3 new radios for mid-band 5G

AIR 3268 joins a family of radios launched in February. Like the other Massive MIMO radios, it’s designed with Ericsson silicon, which the company says provides real-time channel estimation and ultra-precise beamforming for improved coverage and user experience.